Here are some current articles worth reading.
If cash is now king, could Americans who give up credit cards live like royalty?
Being forced to live entirely within your means may make you feel rich in a way, but trying to get along in the modern world with no credit at all can be a royal pain.
Besides the more frequent trips to the ATM, cash-only customers face a much more difficult time in our plastic-dependent society when buying big-ticket items like homes, cars and washing machines, not to mention emergency spending for, say, a furnace that goes kaput in the middle of winter.
“Can consumers live in a cash-only world? No,” says Britt Beemer, chief executive of America’s Research Group. “But they can live in a more cash-oriented world than they do now. That’s happening as more and more people are willing to make an effort to do so.”
As consumers grapple with spending in an economy marred by rising unemployment, growing numbers of foreclosures and what’s expected to be an unprecedented jump in credit-card defaults this year, pulling in the reins makes sense.
Most congressional Democrats say the quickest way to save homeowners like Troy Butler of Saginaw, Mich., is to let them declare bankruptcy and allow judges to dictate new mortgage terms.
Easy, except the lenders that would absorb the pain – and lose control of any deals to ease the terms – do not want to get dragged into bankruptcy court by millions of overextended borrowers.
Butler, 40, is a laid-off General Motors worker who has filed for bankruptcy. But the bankruptcy court has no authority to change the terms of his $90,000-plus mortgage that is more than double the value of his home.
A bill to give judges authority to alter loan terms for primary residences may be the quickest way to arrest the housing market’s collapse. Most Democrats in the House and Senate support that plan. President Barack Obama told Democratic leaders Friday he also backs it, according to a Senate aide who was not authorized to be quoted by name.
But 10 groups representing the lending industry and other businesses are fighting back fiercely. Several have engaged portions of their lobbying machines to stop the legislation. The groups spent $83 million in lobbying on multiple issues in 2008, a figure that shows the power of the banking and investing industry and their business supporters.